The Dallas Stars look to continue their winning ways and win their third straight road game tonight in Raleigh as the team meets the 10-10-3 Carolina Hurricanes. Dallas lost it's last trip to RBC Center 5-3 in December of last year. A win would make it the first time the Stars have won three road games in a row since a stretch two seasons ago in January of 2009.
The will be Dallas' fifth game in eight nights and the team will mercifully have two days off before facing the Washington Capitals on Thursday at the AAC to open a quick 2-game home stand. The Stars need a win if they want to hold on to their share of the Pacific Division lead with the Coyotes. The Kings can overtake them otherwise with a win over the Ducks tonight.
More important than the standings, however, would be a complete 60 minute effort. This weekends wins over the Blues were monumentally important in keeping the cart on the tracks this season but to fall behind in such abysmally played consecutive first periods is not something they want to make a habit of. Speaking of which, here's a snippet from Canes Country on their loss to Washington last night...
The Caps out-shot the Canes, 17-7, out-chanced them, 8-2, and out-drew them in the faceoff circle, 12-3, in that opening period.
That sounds familiar. If the Canes and Stars both play like that in first periods, what should we expect tonight? (And should Versus televise a game between teams like this where one of them is playing back-to-back and the other is playing their fifth game in eight nights? Doesn't seem like a recipe for great entertainment.)
Remember: Early 6:30pm CST start time. Much more after the jump...
There won't be any difference for your Stars tonight as they'll ice the same lineup that's won them three games in a row. Those victories have come by the narrowest of margins, 2-1, 3-2, 2-1, and that's the part the Stars would like to change.
Given their enormous struggles on the road that seem to have carried over from last season (the power play, for instance), it's hard to complain about a 5-5 mark away from Texas, but a multi-goal lead sure would be a sight for sore eyes tonight in Raleigh.
Dallas has only had one multi-goal lead (2-0 against the Sharks at home two weeks ago) in their last 10 games, and yet they remain competitive in the West, earning points more often than not. It's a high-wire, heart-attack inducing act that can turn on a single mistake. They've performed it well, but if they really are getting better on the road a convincing win in this spot tonight would go along way for everyone's confidence. And blood pressure.
Kari Lehtonen will make his 20th start of the season tonight in the teams 23rd game. Brandon will have more on that tomorrow.
"A very deliberate, safe, smart style" is what Marc Crawford is preaching tonight according to a quote heard on The Ticket.
Despite consuming hockey like a fat kid with a bag of m&m's this season with NHL Game Center Live, I have yet to see the Hurricanes play, leaving me with no idea what to expect considering their rather odd 10-10-3 record.
I say odd because of this cluster of oddities in the middle of their schedule:
FINAL NYI (2) - CAR (7)
FINAL CAR (4) - FLA (7)
FINAL FLA (2) - CAR (3)
FINAL EDM (1) - CAR (7)
FINAL PHI (8) - CAR (1)
FINAL CAR (2) - MTL (7)
FINAL OTT (1) - CAR (7)
FINAL CAR (4) - PIT (5) SO
Seven goals is a rare thing in an NHL game and yet here were the Canes involved in it six times in seven games, and they followed it all up with a shootout against the Penguins for good measure. Really look at that and how it swings in both directions. It's astoundingly weird.
They've settled things down in both ends of the ice since then, losing three of their last four games with scores that don't set your hair on fire, but it's clear they can light you up on any given night or vice versa.
They've had good success against the West this season beating Phoenix, Vancouver, Minnesota, Edmonton, and San Jose.
Check out the always excellent Canes Country for all your Hurricane needs.